Sempra Energy (SRE) Short Interest Down 13.4% in February

Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) was the target of a large drop in short interest in the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 19,392,825 shares, a drop of 13.4% from the February 15th total of 22,387,432 shares. Currently, 7.8% of the company’s stock are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 2,313,539 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is currently 8.4 days.

A number of equities research analysts have weighed in on SRE shares. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Sempra Energy from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $123.00 price objective for the company in a research note on Tuesday. Guggenheim restated a “buy” rating and set a $122.00 price objective on shares of Sempra Energy in a research note on Friday, February 23rd. UBS started coverage on Sempra Energy in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. They set a “buy” rating and a $124.00 price objective for the company. Wells Fargo restated a “buy” rating and set a $121.00 price objective (down previously from $130.00) on shares of Sempra Energy in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. Finally, TheStreet lowered Sempra Energy from a “b-” rating to a “c” rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 27th. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $120.09.

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In related news, VP G Joyce Rowland sold 3,948 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $109.81, for a total transaction of $433,529.88. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 2,655 shares in the company, valued at approximately $291,545.55. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Chairman Debra L. Reed sold 49,909 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $110.37, for a total value of $5,508,456.33. Following the sale, the chairman now owns 177,227 shares in the company, valued at $19,560,543.99. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have purchased 235,000 shares of company stock worth $23,000. Company insiders own 0.17% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Pin Oak Investment Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in Sempra Energy during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $116,000. MHI Funds LLC acquired a new position in Sempra Energy during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $130,000. Front Row Advisors LLC acquired a new position in Sempra Energy during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $130,000. Calton & Associates Inc. acquired a new position in Sempra Energy during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $139,000. Finally, Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC acquired a new position in Sempra Energy during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $153,000. Institutional investors own 82.43% of the company’s stock.

Shares of SRE traded down $0.40 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $111.13. The stock had a trading volume of 2,084,279 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,789,281. The firm has a market cap of $28,476.31, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.50, a PEG ratio of 2.21 and a beta of 0.49. The company has a current ratio of 0.50, a quick ratio of 0.46 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.09. Sempra Energy has a fifty-two week low of $100.63 and a fifty-two week high of $122.97.

Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, February 27th. The utilities provider reported $1.54 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.40 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $2.96 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2.82 billion. Sempra Energy had a return on equity of 8.86% and a net margin of 2.28%. The business’s revenue was up 3.3% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $1.52 EPS. sell-side analysts predict that Sempra Energy will post 5.6 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Sunday, April 15th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 23rd will be given a $0.895 dividend. This is a positive change from Sempra Energy’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.82. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, March 22nd. This represents a $3.58 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.22%. Sempra Energy’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 66.05%.

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Sempra Energy Company Profile

Sempra Energy, together with its subsidiaries, invests in, develops, and operates energy infrastructure, as well as provides electric and gas services in the United States and internationally. The company's San Diego Gas & Electric Company segment engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity.

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